New team delivering social procurement results

Department of Finance

Initiatives that promote Aboriginal businesses and Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) are delivering results that benefit local communities and government and private businesses.

To encourage direct engagement with registered ADEs and Aboriginal businesses in Western Australia, the Department of Finance has created a Social Procurement Initiatives (SPI) team.

The move supports amendments made to the State Supply Commission’s Open and Effective Competition (OEC) policy in 2009 and again in 2012, which allow public authorities to engage a registered ADE or Aboriginal business without undertaking a competitive process. If an Aboriginal business is engaged for a contract valued over $250,000 then approval is required from the Agency’s Accountable Authority.

Contracts in excess of $160 million from July 2012 to June 2016 have been awarded to registered Aboriginal businesses for a variety of services, including construction, community and security, education and training, repair and maintenance, consultancy and trades.

Since the policy amendments relating to ADEs in December 2009, Finance has facilitated more than 75 ADE contracts worth more than $32 million.

A commitment to halving the employment gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians has resulted in the creation of the Aboriginal Business Directory WA, which already boasts 450 registered Aboriginal businesses.

Since July 2016 the Department of Aboriginal Affairs has entered into 10 contracts with registered Aboriginal businesses and the work provided has been of a high standard.

‘More agencies are starting to take up the opportunity to directly engage Aboriginal businesses and so far agency feedback is encouraging,’ Finance’s Director of Strategic Advisory Services Kate Ingham said.

Ms Ingham said there were numerous benefits for Government agency buyers purchasing from registered Aboriginal and ADE businesses, including quality services at a reasonable cost and an enhanced corporate image in a changing social procurement landscape.

Keva Maher, Acting SPI Manager, added that valuable lessons had been learnt from ADEs here in WA to increase engagement with Aboriginal businesses in a cohesive way.

‘These initiatives, which look at procurement in a different way, have the potential to positively impact employment, economic and social outcomes for Aboriginal communities and ADEs supported employees’, Ms Maher said. 

For more information on using the OEC policy to engage registered ADEs or Aboriginal businesses please contact the SPI team at spi@finance.wa.gov.au.

See related InterSector story, Disability enterprises make dollars and sense.